Famous Modern Ghost Stories HTML version

The Shadows on the Wall
From The Wind in the Rose-bush, by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. Copyright by Harper and
Brothers. By permission of the publishers and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman.
"Henry had words with Edward in the study the night before Edward died," said Caroline
She spoke not with acrimony, but with grave severity. Rebecca Ann Glynn gasped by
way of assent. She sat in a wide flounce of black silk in the corner of the sofa, and rolled
terrified eyes from her sister Caroline to her sister Mrs. Stephen Brigham, who had been
Emma Glynn, the one beauty of the family. The latter was beautiful still, with a large,
splendid, full-blown beauty, she filled a great rocking-chair with her superb bulk of
femininity, and swayed gently back and forth, her black silks whispering and her black
frills fluttering. Even the shock of death—for her brother Edward lay dead in the house—
could not disturb her outward serenity of demeanor.
But even her expression of masterly placidity changed before her sister Caroline's
announcement and her sister Rebecca Ann's gasp of terror and distress in response.
"I think Henry might have controlled his temper, when poor Edward was so near his
end," she said with an asperity which disturbed slightly the roseate curves of her beautiful
"Of course he did not know," murmured Rebecca Ann in a faint tone.
"Of course he did not know it," said Caroline quickly. She turned on her sister with a
strange, sharp look of suspicion. Then she shrank as if from the other's possible answer.
Rebecca gasped again. The married sister, Mrs. Emma Brigham, was now sitting up
straight in her chair; she had ceased rocking, and was eyeing them both intently with a
sudden accentuation of family likeness in her face.
"What do you mean?" said she impartially to them both. Then she, too, seemed to shrink
before a possible answer. She even laughed an evasive sort of laugh.
"Nobody means anything," said Caroline firmly. She rose and crossed the room toward
the door with grim decisiveness.
"Where are you going?" asked Mrs. Brigham.
"I have something to see to," replied Caroline, and the others at once knew by her tone
that she had some solemn and sad duty to perform in the chamber of death.